The General Assembly of Ecma International approved in Montreux (CH) a new "formal" Ecma-wide Royalty-Free (RF) patent policy option
(PresseBox) (Geneva, )At its June 17, 2015 Ecma General Assembly (GA) in Montreux (CH) the Assembly came to the conclusion that sufficient positive experience has been gathered with the Ecma TC39 and TC52 "experimental Royalty-Free patent policies" and decided that the "experimental" RF patent policy shall become with immediate effect "Ecma-wide" patent policy option. Such an extension is a novelty for most of the existing patent policies of Standard Setting Organizations.
How is this done and what are the rationales for such extension?
- First of all there is no change to the original RAND patent policy of Ecma International, which has been modelled after the ITU/ISO/IEC patent policies (http://www.ecma-international.org/...). This policy shall remain the basic (default) policy for Ecma International.
- However, under certain, well-defined circumstances, for specific standardization projects (where the market requires so, like for some web scripting languages) the GA may approve in advance the use of an optional Royalty-Free patent policy. Such Royalty-Free mode does not provide a full guarantee that all possible relevant patents in the future standard will be entirely RF (there is always a possibility of unknown 3rd party patents in a standard) but at least there is a strong commitment by the standard developing group itself to create such RF standard. This group behavior is very often missing when creating standard under a RAND patent policy. The new standard with RF properties can significantly enhance its market acceptance in certain use segments (important for example for base internet / web standards).
- Only very few SDOs can offer such kind of policy option. Therefore it is expected that this new option will provide Ecma International a competitive advantage vis-à-vis those SDOs who can only offer RAND patent policies. Ecma International hopes to encourage especially some open source standardization projects to come to Ecma.
- A further advantage: if an SDO with RF patent policy (e.g. in a RF W3C standard) wants to include in his standard such RF Ecma standard as normative reference, then the referencing standard will also remain RF. But in case such a normative reference is made to a RAND SDO produced standard (like of IETF, ITU, ISO, etc.) the RF status of the referencing standard is actually unsure.